WBEZ | baseball http://www.wbez.org/tags/baseball Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cubs' Curse of the Billy Goat and other superstitious sports tales http://www.wbez.org/news/cubs-curse-billy-goat-and-other-superstitious-sports-tales-113458 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Billy Goat Tavern owners pose with Billy the goat outside the tavern on Oct. 20..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res450642633" previewtitle="Billy Goat Tavern owners pose with &quot;Billy&quot; the goat outside the tavern on Oct. 20."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Billy Goat Tavern owners pose with &quot;Billy&quot; the goat outside the tavern on Oct. 20." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/21/ap_685358210548-31d4c2ed7f6a81323eacb1886cc794cd0d2655d7-s900-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Billy Goat Tavern owners pose with &quot;Billy&quot; the goat outside the tavern on Oct. 20. (Paul Beaty/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>The Chicago Cubs have not appeared in a World Series since 1945, when, legend has it, tavern owner Billy Sianis placed a curse on the team in retaliation for refusing stadium entry to his goat.</p></div></div></div><p>Going into tonight&#39;s potentially decisive Game 4 of the National League Championship Series trailing the New York Mets 3-0, it seems the Cubs&#39; &quot;curse&quot; is as strong as ever.</p><p>According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.billygoattavern.com/legend/curse/">Billy Goat Tavern&#39;s website</a>, which is now owned by Sianis&#39; nephew Sam, the tale goes as follows:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;The Cubs entered Game 4 of the World Series leading the Detroit Tigers 2 games to 1, and needing to win only two of the next four games played at Wrigley Field. A local Greek, William &#39;Billy Goat&#39; Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern and a Cubs fan, bought two tickets to Game 4. Hoping to bring his team good luck he took his pet goat, Murphy, with him to the game. At the entrance to the park, the Andy Fran ushers stopped Billy Goat from entering saying that no animals are allowed in the park. Billy Goat, frustrated, appealed to the owner of the Cubs, P.K. Wrigley. Wrigley replied, &#39;Let Billy in, but not the goat.&#39; Billy Goat asked, &#39;Why not the goat?&#39; Wrigley answered, &#39;Because the goat stinks.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;According to legend, the goat and Billy were upset, so then Billy threw up his arms and exclaimed, &#39;The Cubs ain&#39;t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.&#39; The Cubs were officially cursed. Subsequently, the Cubs lost game four, and the remaining series getting swept at home and from the World Series. Billy Goat promptly sent a telegram to P.K. Wrigley, stating, &#39;Who stinks now?&#39;&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>Seventy years later, the Cubs have yet to make it back to the World Series, and their fans have adopted the unofficial slogan: &quot;Wait &#39;til next year.&quot;</p><div id="res450642438" previewtitle="Boston Red Sox's Doug Mientkiewicz, left, and catcher Jason Varitek, right, jump into Keith Foulke's arms after the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Caridnals 3-0 in Game 4 to win the 2004 World Series."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Boston Red Sox's Doug Mientkiewicz, left, and catcher Jason Varitek, right, jump into Keith Foulke's arms after the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Caridnals 3-0 in Game 4 to win the 2004 World Series." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/21/ap_041027011406-4681bbadadc66eacb3ec3553a63ecd4b808eb445-s900-c85.jpg" style="height: 405px; width: 540px;" title="Boston Red Sox's Doug Mientkiewicz, left, and catcher Jason Varitek, right, jump into Keith Foulke's arms after the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Caridnals 3-0 in Game 4 to win the 2004 World Series. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>The Cubs&#39; curse is one of the most storied and enduring in baseball, along with the Red Sox&#39; since-broken &quot;Curse of the Bambino.&quot; That myth&nbsp;<a href="http://www.baberuthcentral.com/babesimpact/legends/the-curse-of-the-bambino/">goes something like this</a>: Babe Ruth, nicknamed &quot;The Bambino,&quot; had been a star for the Red Sox from 1914-1919; when he was sold to the rival Yankees, the baseball gods leveled their punishment.</p></div></div></div><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;When Babe Ruth was sold in 1920, the Boston Red Sox had won five World Series titles, more than any other major league team. Up to that point, the Yankees had never won one. However, since Babe Ruth arrived with the Yankees in 1920, this fabled franchise has been to the World Series 37 times and has won a staggering 26 times, including four titles with the Babe. The Red Sox, however, have had a far different outcome.</em></p><p><em>&quot;After selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the Red Sox did not win another Championship for 86 years (until 2004). It was a period full of heartbreaks for everyone affiliated with the Red Sox &ndash; from the players to the ever-faithful fans. The causes were many &mdash; bad management decisions, unfortunate errors and an almost-ironic amount of incredible bad-luck.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>Much was made of the curse&#39;s end and since 2004, the Red Sox have gone on to win the World Series twice more, in 2007 and 2013.</p><div id="res450642286" previewtitle="Australian national soccer team supporters at the 2006 World Cup in Munich, Germany."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Australian national soccer team supporters at the 2006 World Cup in Munich, Germany." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/21/ap_060618011476-43aa2b754b081c44641a832a7e0f55f6dabd86df-s900-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Australian national soccer team supporters at the 2006 World Cup in Munich, Germany. (Fernando Llano/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>However, lest you think sports curses are just merely a fabrication by desperate and superstitious baseball fans,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theage.com.au/news/soccer/safran-helps-lift-curse-of-the-socceroos/2005/11/19/1132017027452.html">consider this tale</a>&nbsp;involving the woes of the Australian national soccer team, called the Socceroos, and an erstwhile comedian, John Safran:</p></div></div></div><blockquote><p><em>&quot;The story begins in 1969, when the Australians were trying to qualify for the 1970 World Cup. The team had lost a play-off and was to face Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in Mozambique.</em></p><p><em>Safran said: &#39;[Soccer player] Johnny (Warren) told me that after the first game of that series, some of the players heard about a witchdoctor in Mozambique who said he could sort things out by putting a curse on the Rhodesians. They all said, &quot;Yeah, cool, let&#39;s do it&quot; and so the witchdoctor planted some bones near one of the goalposts and cursed the opposition.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;&#39;The team won the next game 3-1 and the witchdoctor told the players he wanted $1000 for his services. &quot;You owe me,&quot; the witchdoctor told them, but the players didn&#39;t have enough money,&#39; Safran said. &#39;He warned them he&#39;d reverse the curse and put it on Australian soccer.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;The players left the country without paying up and Johnny sincerely believed that, ever since, Australian soccer has been cursed.</em></p><p><em>&quot;The national team qualified for the 1974 World Cup but suffered a run of gut-wrenching defeats, topped off by the 1997 Iranian disaster and the tear-jerker in Uruguay four years ago. When Warren told him the story last year, Safran decided to go to Africa to do a story about the curse for his show&nbsp;John Safran vs God. The witchdoctor had died, but Safran found another who could channel him by going to the stadium at which the Rhodesia game had been played 35 years earlier.</em></p><p><em>&quot;&#39;That involved us sitting in the middle of the pitch and he killed a chicken and splattered the blood all over me,&quot; Safran said. &#39;I then had to go to Telstra Stadium with Johnny and we had to wash ourselves in some clay the witchdoctor had given us.&#39;&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p>The antics apparently did the trick, as the team went on to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.</p></p> Wed, 21 Oct 2015 17:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cubs-curse-billy-goat-and-other-superstitious-sports-tales-113458 Morning Shift: October 19, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-19/morning-shift-october-19-2015-113403 <p><p>Jake Arrieta looked human and Daniel Murphy looked like Reggie Jackson. The Cubs find themselves down 2-nothing in their quest to reach the World Series. Jason Marck does some host-to-host analysis with baseball fan <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-19/brian-lehrer-cubs-vs-mets-nlcs-113402">Brian Lehrer </a>of public radio station WNYC in New York.</p><p>Then we talk to writer and Mets fan David Vecsey about the comparisons between <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-19/intersection-grateful-dead-and-baseball-113401">baseball and the Grateful Dead</a>.</p><p>Plus, some folks in San Francisco have taken the idea of a magazine, and turned it into a live event. We&rsquo;ll get the story behind <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-19/pop-magazine-comes-chicago-113399">Pop Up Magazine</a>, coming to Chicago for the first time.</p><p>And all the way from Leeds, England the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-19/new-mastersounds-perform-songs-latest-album-113398">New Mastersounds</a> bring the funk with live music from their new album.</p></p> Mon, 19 Oct 2015 12:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-19/morning-shift-october-19-2015-113403 2 Wild Cards, 2 home teams shut out: Cubs blank Pirates to advance http://www.wbez.org/news/2-wild-cards-2-home-teams-shut-out-cubs-blank-pirates-advance-113234 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ap_926858659682_custom-a6e5f96be8a3b9731474b1c831edc5aaff67250a-s1400.jpg" style="float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo hoists starting pitcher Jake Arrieta aloft after he finished a complete-game shutout of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild card game Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Arrieta struck out 11 while giving up four hits and no walks. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)" />Behind a complete-game shutout thrown by right-hander Jake Arrieta, the Chicago Cubs advanced to the Divisional Series on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, beating the Pirates 4-0.</p><p>Kyle Schwarber had a home run and three runs batted in for the Cubs and Dexter Fowler had three hits and scored three times. Chicago will open its series against St. Louis at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday. The Cardinals won 11 of the 19 games the divisional rivals played this season.</p><p>The win in the wild card game, a recent addition to the MLB postseason, lets the Cubs advance in the playoffs for the first time since 2003.</p><p>Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole gave up all four runs in his five innings for Pittsburgh, and while the bullpen was near perfect, the team&#39;s bats were ice cold. The Pirates, making their third straight appearance in the National League wild card game, struck out 11 times and didn&#39;t draw a single walk off Arrieta.</p><p>The loss capped two rough wild card games for home teams: On Tuesday night the Yankees were shut out against the Houston Astros, 3-0, in New York.</p><p>The Astros start their series against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, following the 3:30 p.m. ET start of the Texas Rangers-Toronto Blue Jays series. Both will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.</p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/07/446741729/two-wild-cards-two-home-teams-shut-out-cubs-blank-pirates-to-advance">NPR&#39;s Two-Way</a></em></p></p> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 09:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/2-wild-cards-2-home-teams-shut-out-cubs-blank-pirates-advance-113234 Cubs looking to launch themselves into the playoffs http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-07/cubs-looking-launch-themselves-playoffs-113217 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cubs Flickr Steve.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This season, the Chicago Cubs exceeded nearly everyone&rsquo;s expectations. And now it all comes down to one game with the Pirates. If they beat Pittsburgh, the Cubs will advance to the post-season and a series with their rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.</p><p>WBEZ sports contributor <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Cheryl Raye Stout</a> talks about some of the thinking and strategy going into tonight&rsquo;s big game.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 10:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-07/cubs-looking-launch-themselves-playoffs-113217 Cheryl Raye Stout goes 1-on-1 with rookie sensation Kris Bryant http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-06/cheryl-raye-stout-goes-1-1-rookie-sensation-kris-bryant-113197 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/kris bryant ap file smaller.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Of the many young players on the Cubs this season, <a href="https://twitter.com/krisbryant_23">Kris Bryant</a> stands out. The former number-two pick in the draft made a huge impact in his first year...hitting 26 homers, 31 doubles, and knocking in 99 RBI&rsquo;s. Those numbers might be good enough to earn Bryant Rookie of the Year honors in the National League. And yesterday it was announced that Bryant has the top-selling jersey in all of baseball.</p><p>As the Cubs get ready for tomorrow&rsquo;s wildcard game against the Pirates for the right to face Saint Louis in the playoffs, Kris Bryant sat down with our sports contributor <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">Cheryl Raye Stout</a> to talk about playing for Joe Maddon, waking up early for day games at Wrigley, and making the transition to playing in the majors.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-06/cheryl-raye-stout-goes-1-1-rookie-sensation-kris-bryant-113197 Cheryl Raye Stout goes 1-on-1 with Cubs Jake Arrieta http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-05/cheryl-raye-stout-goes-1-1-cubs-jake-arrieta-113179 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/jake arrieta ap file.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It all comes down to Wednesday night in Pittsburgh: the play-off wildcard game between the Cubs and the Pirates. If the Cubs win, it&rsquo;s on to their rival the St. Louis Cardinals. Leading up to Wednesday&rsquo;s game, we&rsquo;re bringing you excerpts of extended interviews sports contributor <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Cheryl Raye Stout</a> did with some of the team&rsquo;s biggest stars.</p><p>Cheryl takes us one-on-one with pitcher Jake Arrieta. His teammate Jon Lester was the big name big money acquisition last winter, but Arrieta has had a breakout year worthy of the Cy Young award for the best pitcher in the National League. Here are some numbers: 20 wins and more than 200 strikeouts &mdash; he&rsquo;s only the 3rd Cub to do that since 1900.</p></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 12:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-05/cheryl-raye-stout-goes-1-1-cubs-jake-arrieta-113179 Are fans allowing themselves to get excited about Cubs clinch? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-28/are-fans-allowing-themselves-get-excited-about-cubs-clinch-113085 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cubs flickr Rob Pongsajapan.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For four years, Cubs President Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer have been trading, picking, buying, re-trading and stocking up on young talent. This year was supposed to be the year when the Wrigley faithful would finally see the team pull themselves out of the cellar and play halfway decent ball. But the Cubs defied expectations, and have secured a shot at playoffs.</p><p>The question is, with 107 years of frustration and disappointment on their minds...are Cubs fans excited about a one-game playoff? We hear from listeners. And WBEZ sports contributor <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Cheryl Raye Stout</a> joins us.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 10:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-28/are-fans-allowing-themselves-get-excited-about-cubs-clinch-113085 The design of the Wrigley Scoreboard: Revolutionary, retro or both? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/design-wrigley-scoreboard-revolutionary-retro-or-both-112916 <p><p>Wrigley Field got a lot of press last spring when it debuted the much-anticipated (or much-dreaded) mammoth-sized video board. On opening day, Cubs fans &mdash; some grinning, some grunting &mdash; feasted their eyes on 39,000 square-feet of instant replays, player stats, and pitch speeds. In other words, the works.</p><p>But if you do the math, this Jumbotron and its right-field counterpart (a smaller screen that lists each team&#39;s batting lineup) didn&rsquo;t add up to two ways to track games at Wrigley Field. It made three.</p><p>Because, tucked in the back of the center field bleachers, sits the same, rinkydink hand-operated scoreboard that&rsquo;s sat there for 78 years. And, amid Wrigley&rsquo;s newfound displays of digital data, that old, middle board still makes an impression.</p><p>&ldquo;I was more struck by the scoreboard than the action on the field, to be honest with you,&rdquo; says Tom Foust, whose Curious City question was inspired by his first and only Chicago Cubs game last season.</p><p>Tom says he found himself lost in a daygame daydream, imagining what impressions that board must have left on Cubs fans in 1937, the year it debuted. And he asked us this:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Was the Wrigley Field scoreboard a revolution in information design for 193</em>7?</p><p>Assessing whether a new technology amounts to a revolution is tricky. The cotton gin revolutionized agriculture, and television forever changed the way we consume entertainment.</p><p>But what&rsquo;s a <em>scoreboard</em> ever done? Or, as Tom wants to know, should <em>this </em>scoreboard join the ranks of the pie chart and the emoticon as a revolutionary piece of visual communication.</p><p>For an answer, we delve into how the board was shaped, and we evaluate whether the design holds up today. And we get some extra-inning goodness: Regardless of its innovations (or lack thereof), the board tests the idea that everything old can indeed become new again.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The crafting and cobbling together of &lsquo;beautiful&rsquo; Wrigley Field</span></p><p>The story of the Wrigley Field scoreboard starts with a vision for the entire stadium.</p><p>Philip Knight Wrigley inherited the Cubs from his father, the chewing gum magnate who ran the team as a hobby. PK Wrigley promised to keep the Cubs in the family business, though, and was intrigued with the idea of filling seats more than actually running the team.</p><p>In fact, PK Wrigley didn&rsquo;t even like baseball.</p><p>&ldquo;He loved art. He loved flowers,&rdquo; says Stuart Shea, who wrote a book about Wrigley Field&rsquo;s history. &ldquo;He was a tinkerer, an idea guy. Not a great people person. A strange bird.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_770412037.jpg" style="height: 241px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Philip K. Wrigley, left, poses with Charles Grimm at the Chicago Cubs training camp on Catalina Island, California in 1934. (AP Photo)" /></div><p>But being a man of marketing and aesthetics, Wrigley set out to expand Wrigley Field&rsquo;s audience. In a redesign he first considered for the 1937 season, he wanted to attract new fans: women, children, and men more like himself. And the way to do it, he thought, was to make the place irresistible.</p><p>&ldquo;One of PK Wrigley&rsquo;s most brilliant thoughts was this idea of you can&rsquo;t guarantee whether a team will win or lose, but you can guarantee whether the park is going to be clean, and the food is going to be good and the facilities are going to be adequate,&rdquo; Shea says. &ldquo;He said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to pour my money into making this a place where people want to spend the day.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Wrigley branded the place &lsquo;Beautiful Wrigley Field.&rsquo; He advertised it all over radio stations and newspapers well before anyone ever set foot in the place before the 1937 opening day.</p><p>He hired Otis Shepard, the famous corporate artist behind the success of Wrigley Gum, to reimagine the place with a soft, Art Deco flair. Together, they established the forest green and off-white color palette you see today, which was inspired by Wrigley Gum products and the baseball diamond itself.</p><p>The outside marquee, the ticket booths, the concession stands were designed with noticeable intention. The scoreboard was to be the crown jewel that tied it all together.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="300" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1937/09/12/page/39/article/new-wrigley-field-blooms-in-scenic-beauty-and-scoffers-rush-to-apologize" width="620"></iframe></p><p>(Interestingly, the board was one of the last things to come together, and it barely met the opening day deadline. For details see <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZQRb1eh9lE&amp;feature=youtu.be">here&rsquo;s Bill Veeck&rsquo;s account</a>. <em>Know though, that this man was known to exaggerate!</em>) &nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Putting the scoreboard to the 1937 (beta) test</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/today.jpg" style="height: 433px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/Antonio Delgado)" /></p><p>Remember that Tom Foust wants to know whether the board was revolutionary, not majestic. With the backstory in hand, here&rsquo;s the board, followed by an inventory of the information fans were confronted with on opening day:</p><ul><li><strong>The left and right sides:</strong> The board displays scores from concurrent games running across the National and American leagues. While today it&rsquo;s expected to be able to access the scores of games across the country (there are even dozens of baseball apps to choose from), Tom wondered if having all of that information accessible and displayed in 1937 was particularly revolutionary. Shea says &hellip; nope. Most big-league baseball scoreboards did have that information. Why? Baseball fans or not, people liked to gamble, and scoreboards that showed simultaneous games not only offered more options for where to place your bets, but also drew more people into ballparks.&nbsp;<em>Verdict: This content was expected. Not revolutionary.</em></li></ul><ul dir="ltr"><li><em>​</em><strong>The middle:</strong> The number of balls, scores, and outs (as well as other other doodads like the uniform number of the batters and umpires) are all displayed in the middle of the scoreboard. It&rsquo;s run on a system of electromagnetic relays that control grids of small, painted eyelets (think of them as physical, manual pixels), that flip to form the numbers you see on the board. Relay technology was nothing new in 1937, but it hadn&rsquo;t been applied to scoreboards before. As a result, though, the middle numbers are actually bigger than the manually-operated numbers displayed on the left or right, because the simpler technology worked with the push of a lever &mdash; not the work of, say, three men updating scores by hand. The larger numbers made the game easier to follow for new baseball fans. <em>Verdict: The mechanisms are neat, but were actually common. Larger numbers are an improvement in user-experience, but not enough to make it revolutionary.</em></li></ul><ul dir="ltr"><li><strong>Overall layout:</strong> Wrigley and Veeck were on to something when they decided to rethink the board&#39;s layout for the 1937 season. Most scoreboards at the time were either narrow and vertical, or narrow and horizontal. Veeck&rsquo;s design arranged all of the scores in a large, rectangular shape and placed it above eye-level in the centerfield bleachers. Most other scoreboards were located at ground level near the infield, where not everyone could see it. <em>Verdict: The new format was an improvement in designing a point of entry. At least it was at eye level and graspable at a quick glance.</em></li></ul><p>​What to make of it all? Here&rsquo;s where we come down on it: In 1937, the Wrigley Field scoreboard was a hands-down improvement of the user experience, but, even with all of its improvements considered together, the board fell short of being revolutionary.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">But if it&rsquo;s not revolutionary, what is it?</span></p><p>The board&rsquo;s survived several rounds of technological progress, including the streamlining of all-electric scoreboards during the 1950s. For that, it deserves some applause. But how does it hold up by today&rsquo;s standards of technological interfaces?</p><p>Marie Hicks, who teaches the history of technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, is willingto provide her first impression: the classic Wrigley Field scoreboard is a mess.</p><p>There&rsquo;s just too much information, she says. It&rsquo;s not user-friendly. There&rsquo;s not a single point of entry.</p><p>She&rsquo;s confident that board wasn&rsquo;t revolutionary, but not for the reasons you might think.</p><p>Hicks says that for something to be revolutionary, it&rsquo;s got to make a fundamental change in the way people do things from that point on. If it were revolutionary, the Wrigley scoreboard would have inspired copycats across the country. And in a broad movement towards mainstream replication, Hicks says, the original (the one at Wrigley) would lose value. It just wouldn&rsquo;t be that special anymore.</p><p>&ldquo;If it were revolutionary then everything after it would have been just like it and there would have been less of a reason to keep it around,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>That&rsquo;s not the case with Wrigley Field&rsquo;s old scoreboard. In fact, the thing was special enough to receive landmark status from the City of Chicago in 2014. Which means, not only was the scoreboard decidedly worth historic preservation, it was also worth keeping up and running. Why? People love it.</p><p>&ldquo;In a strange way the love that a lot of people have for the scoreboard is another hint that it wasn&rsquo;t really revolutionary,&rdquo; Hicks says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s both foreign and completely familiar. It&rsquo;s representing all the stuff you expect to see in a modern scoreboard but in a sort of janky, simpler way that makes us nostalgic.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though the scoreboard was built in an era very different from our own, it&rsquo;s still relatable. And Hicks says that relatability is key to understanding why the board was not so much revolutionary as it was a harbinger of an increasingly data-driven and information-rich society. One in which numbers pervade daily life and even entertainment.</p><p>&ldquo;The technology that for a while was developed for business or defense are now seeping into our lives in all sorts of ways,&rdquo; Hicks says, citing the popularity of fitbits and algorithm-driven entertainment like Netflix or Spotify. &ldquo;The way that technology has changed our view of how to entertain ourselves and be in the world in off hours has so much more to do with quantification.&rdquo;</p><p>The Wrigley Field scoreboard, Hicks says, is one beautiful example of an early shift towards an world more like our own. That part where we see ourselves in the past ... That&rsquo;s what nostalgia&rsquo;s made of.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">In with the new, but make it look old</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Wrigley_Field_Panorama.png" style="height: 351px; width: 620px;" title="A panorama of Wrigley Field taken August 8, 2015, shows the three boards Cubs fan can use to follow the game. (Photo By TaylorSteiner (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons) " /></p><p>Nostalgia, it turns out, can be quite the utility. Today, as Wrigley Field&rsquo;s newly-installed Jumbotron hovers over left field, it could be flashing animated letters that tell you when to cheer, when to do the wave or when to kiss the stranger next to you.</p><p>Instead, between the instant replays and inning wrap-ups, you see digitized films of Harry Caray at Wrigley Field singing &ldquo;Take me out to the ball game,&rdquo; or bits of Cubs history trivia &mdash; all digitally designed with the same, deep-forest green and off-white art deco details Cubs fans have enjoyed for decades. It&rsquo;s as if the new video boards had the same art director as the old scoreboard.</p><p>Although that old scoreboard ages by the day, it stays trapped in a twisted time warp, somewhere between old and new. A radical, retroactive anti-revolution.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">About our questioner</span></p><p>Tom Foust says when he sat in the Wrigley Field bleachers for the first time, his level of nerd-dom became utterly clear to him.</p><p>&ldquo;I am decidedly not a baseball guy, but I am a bit of an information nerd,&rdquo; he says, adding that the Cubs game itself became kind of secondary.</p><p>He says he had even ventured an answer to his own question about the board&rsquo;s status as revolutionary: &ldquo;I would probably guess, Yes, this was something that was really unique and encouraged the growth of even more.&rdquo;</p><p>Tom has been spot-on when it comes to one observation: Yes, the Wrigley Field scoreboard is unique. But he was spot-wrong in the part about the Wrigley scoreboard encouraging the growth of more like it. In fact, learned that the Wrigley scoreboard is one of a kind, and that&rsquo;s exactly what makes it decidedly non-revolutionary. &nbsp;</p><p>But as a middle school music and technology teacher, he&rsquo;s come up a follow-up question: How would a modern professional of information design create the same scoreboard using the technology of 1930?</p><p>Well, Tom, we&rsquo;ll leave that to your students to take up!</p><p><em>Logan Jaffe is Curious City&#39;s web producer. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/loganjaffe">@loganjaffe</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 17:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/design-wrigley-scoreboard-revolutionary-retro-or-both-112916 Morning Shift: August 26, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-26/morning-shift-august-26-2015-112733 <p><p>We talk a lot about Chicago Public Schools on this program (of course...we&rsquo;re a Chicago station.) But other schools in the area have their own challenges. We go around the horn and learn a few things about suburban schools, Catholic schools, and schools in Northwest Indiana. Then, lots of people are hit and some seriously injured by foul balls and broken bats at Major League parks every year, but not everyone is for the extra protective netting that would keep people from getting hurt. Then, we dive into some recently acquired musical gems from Reclaimed Soul&rsquo;s Ayana Contreras. And cartoonist and author Jessica Abel has written a new graphic book that takes readers inside some of their favorite public radio shows and podcasts. This American Life, Planet Money, RadioLab, Serial...how they make the stories that we just can&rsquo;t turn off!</p></p> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-26/morning-shift-august-26-2015-112733 Cubs are closing in on the Wild Card http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-24/cubs-are-closing-wild-card-112711 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cubs Ron Cogswell.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Cubs are six games ahead of the San Francisco Giants for the final National League wild card spot after sweeping Atlanta at a raucous Wrigley Field over the weekend. For Cubs&rsquo; fans, it&rsquo;s pretty amazing to watch...WBEZ sports contributor CRS joins us to talk about their winning ways.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 10:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-24/cubs-are-closing-wild-card-112711